Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015, Dan Bischoff and Jeff Chen


Excellent puzzle on a Monday basis. The theme is very well done. All five standard vowels ANDY (and Y) are placed symmetrically in the corners and the midpoints of the top and bottom rows, and the long theme answers use each of the six vowels once. Better, each theme answer is a strong phrase, well accepted and used widely. Even better, the Y in each answer is used as a vowel, not a consonant.

I did not get the theme until I was finished. This is often the case on a Monday, where I'm pushing myself to complete as fast as possible. It was nice then, to finish with the "revealer" in the SE.

But that's not all! There's room for six very strong longer down answers. 3D: Sideshow act that features "the smallest performers in the world" (FLEACIRCUS) is my favorite, but 40D: Attractive companion on the red carpet (ARMCANDY) is great as well. Note that the clue does not presuppose gender in the term, so everybody is equally objectified. Well done, sirs!

There was little in the cluing that was tricky. I liked the verbose clue for TMI. It was clever to have LIE cross TRUER. 31A: Person who regularly cleans his plate? (UMP) was a good clue for that classic bit of crosswordese. I did not like AFAR crossing ASEA, but the puzzle was locked into the vowels in the corners, so I can see how things might have been tight there. A 4-letter word in the pattern A__R that is Monday level?

Similarly, 1A: Meows : cats :: ____ : dogs (ARFS) is not the greatest opening clue, but I'll give it a little leeway for the puzzle structure, so a B.

- Colum


  1. 8:16
    I loved SOCIALBUTTERFLY (Horace, maybe?) and UPWARDLYMOBILE was good, too. I agree that it is a well-done Monday, but ARFS would only have gotten a C from me. I don't have too much else to add other than I've never heard of a MOLERAT (46A "Naked" rodent); very unattractive creature.

  2. 6:47
    Moi? A SOCIALBUTTERFLY? As I just told my sister recently, we're shutting it down! Well... we keep saying we'd like to shut it down, but then we find ourselves out at a dinner party, or an art opening, or making a trip to Maine or Albany to see family and friends... and speaking of that, when's that happening? Are we going to get in one visit before New Year's? And furthermore, aren't I also somewhat UPWARDLYMOBILE, what with my new job and all? :)

    Yes, very nice Monday. I did this before work yesterday and never even took the time to figure out the theme, which I like quite a bit, now that it's been explained to me. And you're totally right about the strong downs. They really elevate this one out of the normal Monday realm. UNFORGIVEN, ANTIMATTER, and the ones you mention, are all quite good. I can even forgive the APO, ULAN, AWGEE corner for all that.